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John S. Robertson
Johnny Mack Brown
In Vienna, in the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Captain Karl von Raden and his partner Captain Max Heinrich learn in the box office that the ticket for the opera is sold-out. Out of the blue, a man returns his ticket and Karl buys it and shares a box with a gorgeous woman that is waiting for her cousin. Karl gives a ride home to the lady and they spend the night together. On the next day, they spend a wonderful day in the countryside together. Karl is assigned to travel to Berlin by train to deliver secret plans to the German government. His uncle, Colonel Eric von Raden, who is the chief of the Austrian secret service, advises Karl the woman with whom he had spent the previous day is the notorious Russian spy Tania Fedorova. While in the train, Tania meets Karl to tell that she is in love with him, but he rejects her telling that he knows who she is. On the next morning, Karl wakes up and finds that the plans have been stolen and he receives a message from Tania telling that ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Very Good Melodrama With a Typically Fine Garbo Performance
Greta Garbo's usual fine performance, along with a good supporting cast and an interesting (if somewhat familiar) story, make "The Mysterious Lady" a very good melodrama. It has a good mix of romance, intrigue, and suspense that gets the most out of the fairly simple premise, and along the way there are also some good touches by director Fred Niblo.
In a part similar to her role in the better-known "Mata Hari", Garbo here plays a glamorous Russian spy who targets an Austrian officer, aiming at first to steal important military secrets, but soon genuinely falling in love with him. The conflict between personal feelings and perceived patriotic duty sets up the rest of the drama, and it builds up to an interesting climactic scene, with an exuberant party taking place in Warsaw while, in a private room, a tense confrontation plays out.
Besides keeping a good pace and atmosphere, there are a few places where Niblo's direction also highlights key props in a fashion that would have pleased Hitchcock. And while Garbo as usual dominates the screen, the supporting cast features solid performances. Conrad Nagel plays the Austrian, with Gustav Von Seyffertitz as a Russian spy-master. Perhaps the best performance in the supporting cast is by Edward Connelly, in a smaller role as Nagel's uncle. It's a good combination that makes for a very good movie.
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